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How Long Do Climbing Shoes Last?

Do you want to know when to say goodbye to your favorite climbing shoes?

While doing any climbing activity, climbing shoes are the most important thing you need. Unluckily, these types of outdoor shoes wear out quickly if used excessively. Unlike regular footwear, they deteriorate rapidly.

My estimate about the longevity of climbing shoes is about 3 – 10 months if used twice weekly. If you rarely use them for climbing activities and hardly use them a few times a year, you may find them long-lasting shoes.

In this article, I have comprehensively explained how long climbing shoes last and tips to enjoy them for a long time.

how long do climbing shoes last

What is the Lifespan of Hiking and Climbing Shoes?

The climbing shoe rubber shows the quality of these shoes. A high-quality one can last until the sole turn extremely thin. All this depends on how active climber you are, how better you walk in them, and how soft the material of your shoes is.

If you re-sole climbing shoes, you can use them again, which is an interesting thing about this footwear. Therefore, when the sole is worn out, and its performance worsens, it’s very important to re-sole it as soon as possible.

However, it would be best to remember that an expert resoler should do this. Bring them to a local shoe repair shop if they can do it with high-quality materials so that they can be used a few times.

They will wear out soon if you use them every week to climb. Each year, a climber needs 2 – 3 different rock climbing shoes.

However, changing them repeatedly makes this project costly. Getting footwear that provides a good grip and is ideal for better climbing is necessary.

Your footwear will last for two years if you use them once in a few months. However, this also depends on the areas where you have to climb. Thus, the rock climbing hiking shoes will wear out early if you use them on tough routes.

If you use your shoes once a year for climbing and there is no external damage, they can last up to 3 – 4 years. On the other hand, if you climb every day and are a gym climber, you will need 3 – 4 pairs of shoes every year.

Things that Affect Climbing Shoes’ Lifespan

While looking for shoes, you must choose according to your climbing type. If you do heavy workouts in the gym, you must select the ones that are suitable for this.

Similarly, people who do bouldering (climbing on small rocks on the wall) should choose the ideal options. As a professional climber, you must choose advanced climbing shoes with thin soles to reach every corner easily.

However, beginner climbing shoes have thick soles. To understand what factors affect the lifespan of climbing shoes, it is also important to know the characteristics of a good shoe which I have explained in detail:

1. Size

Wearing climbing shoes is a must-do while choosing them at the time of purchase to ensure they are properly fit.

In the earlier time, when sports shoes were introduced, people were used to buying two points lower footwear than their original sizes, but this concept is changed now.

Now everyone is looking for the accurate size of footwear that properly fits their feet. To get the right shoes, you must understand the correct size of your feet.

Consider the following things to buy the accurate size of footwear:

  • If you used to wear socks with climbing shoes, buy larger shoes.
  • Many shoe stores have climbing walls to check the proper fitting, so you must check them before buying; however, if there is no wall, check by wearing the shoes, pointing the toes, and stretching them to ensure they are fit.
  • Choosing synthetic shoes will be better than leather ones because they don’t get loose.

2. Design – Laced or Unlaced

Selecting the best footwear design depends on the type of activity. I will suggest laced shoes because you can make them tight as you desire. This way, you can achieve a perfect fitting according to your foot.

The only disadvantage is that it will take time to lace them up and take the shoes out. For people who find it difficult to lace up the footwear Velcro (a type of shoe with hook and loop strap closures instead of laces) are the best option.

Gym users should select Velcro shoes because they repeatedly wear and take them off while exercising.

Sometimes your feet become restless due to wearing climbing shoes for a long time; in this situation, the Velcro design is useful because you can quickly take them off and rest.

3. Style

Consider different types of climbing footwear, such as:

Flat

Beginners should choose flat or neutral footwear because they have thick soles and rigid midsoles. However, some people don’t find thick soles comfortable for their feet.

Moderate

This footwear provides a better grip on your feet. They are not so comfortable and usually wear out early.

Aggressive Shoes

These shoes have foot curves and are manufactured for professional climbers. With this footwear, you can access every corner easily while climbing because they provide a better grip.

They have thin rubber soles that provide comfort to the foot but their rubber soles wear off quickly and will stress the heel area of your foot.

4. Material

Another important thing is the footwear material that should be checked thoroughly. The sole of every climbing footwear is made of soft and sticky rubber. Make sure the rubber is soft; it should create friction and stick to the rock.

Remember that hard rubber will not show such performance and will slip from the surfaces. Thick rubber shoes show great performance if you want to climb difficult routes. Their lifespan is more compared to thinner rubber sole shoes.

On the other hand, shoes that have thin rubber can climb on corners easily. Their uppers are created from leather, synthetic or lined leather.

Most people like leather uppers because they are durable and breathable. So the bad odor doesn’t get a chance to occur. But a downside is that leather gets loose with time, so they grow bigger.

Therefore, synthetic ones are better because they don’t get loose. However, shoes made with synthetic material don’t have much breathability, creating an unpleasant odor.

5. Usage Frequency

If you use your climbing shoes excessively, their lifespan will become shorter. They will wear out earlier if you use them 3 – 4 times every week. This is why most climbers keep 3 – 4 pairs of shoes.

If you wear your footwear only once a month, it should last more than a year. The lifespan can increase to 5 years if you wear them a few times a year.

However, climbing shoes are the best thing you can re-sole. The damaged soles of this footwear can be replaced, and their life will be extended. This way, your shoes will last for years if you maintain them.

6. Technique of Climbing

How a person uses these climbing shoes is also an important factor that affects their lifespan. During climbing, if you scrape your footwear a lot, the friction will cause them to wear down soon.

Some climbers bounce and readjust their feet in a constant motion while climbing. These movements decrease their lifespan.

7. The Company

The most important thing is whether the company manufactures shoes from high-quality materials. If they are made from durable materials, they will last longer than low-quality ones.

The well-built shoes come with flawless stitching and a carefully planned design that fulfills all the climber’s requirements.

How to Make Climbing Shoes Long-lasting?

If you take care of your climbing shoes properly, they will be in good condition for a long time. I am going to share the following tips that will help in extending your footwear’s life:

1. Purchase the Right Climbing Shoes

The market is full of various climbing shoes, so it is important to understand the right type of footwear. Purchasing the wrong one will result in early wear out.

I have given a brief sketch of different shoe types:

Beginner Climbing Shoes

This footwear is manufactured keeping in mind the climbers who can’t climb on difficult routes. These shoes’ front edges are slightly curved downward for foot support to stand on narrow ledges (shelf-like projection on a wall).

This type of footwear cannot move on narrow positions and cracks in the wall; if you try to do, it will result in wear out. Simond Rock Climbing Shoe is an example of these shoes.

Intermediate Climbing Shoes

They offer a good balance than beginner footwear with a unique design to climb on larger holds on the rock surface. They come with advanced features which can climb on small cracks in the wall.

Advanced Climbing Shoes

This footwear is called performance shoes which can climb on more challenging routes. Its design is made so that a significant amount of weight can be supported.

If you use them excessively on flatter surfaces, their life will be decreased because the heel and sole areas will wear out soon.

2. Regularly Clean your Shoes

To keep your climbing shoes in good condition for a long time, keeping them clean is an important thing. You can keep a towel or rag to clean them while climbing. Thus, the buildup on the shoe surface will not get a chance to become stubborn.

After reaching home, apply a damp cloth on the shoe’s surface to clean them and ensure every corner of the shoe is cleaned.

3. Wear them When Climbing

Wearing your climbing shoes too much will result in wearing them out soon. Using them in daily activities will damage them early, so use them only when you have to go climbing.

4. While wearing, Make Sure Your Foot is Clean

This will not create a big change but will help them last longer. When you put on footwear with dirty feet, the bacteria and germs get a chance to grow and make unpleasant smells. Thus, it is very important to wear climbing shoes on clean feet.

5 When not Using, Put them in a Shoe Bag

When you are not using them, please keep them in a shoe bag and store them safely, so they are protected from wearing out.

This way, the scrapes, and bumps will not occur on them and will not wear out soon.

6. Climb with the Right Technique

If you know the exact way of climbing, your footwear will last a long time. The rubber sole will wear out soon if you scrape them with the surface too much.

7. Re-Sole the Shoes

Whenever the sole of the climbing shoes becomes thin and worn out, you can extend their lifespan by a re-sole. Before fully replacing them, you can do the resoling several times. Thus, this is a good way to protect your costly shoes from damage too early.

FAQs – Frequently Asked Questions

Are Rock Climbing Shoes Harmful to Your Feet?

Wearing too-tight climbing shoes will result in numerous foot problems such as corns and bunions.

The toes become unable to move and cause pain; therefore, when the foot strikes the wall or ground slightly hard, the heel and arch will get influenced, and the chances of foot injury will increase.

Do Climbing Shoes Break in Occur Due to Wearing Them Excessively?

If the material of the climbing shoes gets loose over time due to wearing them for a long time, they will stretch early. It is seen that most of the climbing footwear becomes comfortable after using them 3 – 5 times for climbing.

Can We Wear Socks with Climbing Shoes?

If you wear too tight climbing shoes, you can get foot problems like blisters and rubbing. Therefore, wearing thin pair of socks will help you in this situation.

This layer will not allow blisters or any such problem because it will reduce the friction between the shoe stuff and your foot.

Due to Using Climbing Shoes a Lot, Do They Get Loose?

When you wear your climbing shoes excessively, they change their shape and get loose due to stretching.

Do Ingrown Toenails Happen Due to Wearing Climbing Shoes?

The rock climbing shoes are designed so that their fitting is tight. When you wear two points smaller shoes than your original size, it may result in many foot problems like bunions and ingrown toenails.

Final Thoughts

Climbing shoes are made in a unique design, especially for climbers, but how long they will last depends on a few things. For example, how much is their usage, in which technique do you use them, and which materials have made them?

From time to time, keep them clean, and check the stickiness and tears of the shoes; this way, you will be able to make them last for a long time. Furthermore, if you see the sole is damaged too much, re-soling will extend its lifespan.

Daniel Robert is a shoe lover who enjoys writing about all kinds of footwear, including sneakers, Crocs, Vans, and more. He shares his vast knowledge on Shoesra.com, a website dedicated to helping people find the perfect pair of shoes. With years of experience and a passion for all things shoe-related, Daniel's easy-to-understand advice has helped countless people make confident and stylish choices.

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